BHC Consultants presented conceptual ideas of a downtown plaza to the Enumclaw City Council on Nov. 27, which includes a splash park, a playground, a covered stage and a picnic lawn. Image courtesy of BHC Consultants

BHC Consultants presented conceptual ideas of a downtown plaza to the Enumclaw City Council on Nov. 27, which includes a splash park, a playground, a covered stage and a picnic lawn. Image courtesy of BHC Consultants

Enumclaw moves forward with downtown plaza proposal

Convinced that downtown Enumclaw has unrealized potential, the city will soon be looking for developers interested in turning dreams to reality.

Convinced that downtown Enumclaw has unrealized potential, the city will soon be looking for developers interested in turning dreams to reality.

The notion of using public land to create a destination for locals and visitors is nothing new. A plan was developed, gathered cobwebs for a time and was eventually dusted off with a renewed sense of interest. On Dec. 11, members of the Enumclaw City Council gave their blessing for administration to seek proposals for development at the intersection of Stevenson Avenue and Cole Street, presently a parking lot.

The action taken during the council’s final meeting of 2017 is the latest installment in a tale that stretches back to at least 2006. That’s when the city amended its municipal code to allow for multi-story, mixed-use development in downtown zones. At that time, the city had heard from two private developers who kicked around the notion of developing the land; those plans were scrapped, however, with the onset of the most-recent recession.

Former Mayor Liz Reynolds has been an outspoken booster of downtown development and pushed for money to be included in the city budget that paid for professional help in kick-starting the project.

Three options were drawn up and presented during a June 2015 workshop. A month ago, BHC Consultants presented a conceptualized plan for a public plaza and pavilion between Cole and Railroad Streets.

That led to the council’s Nov. 11 vote, which allows administration to seek parties interested in mixed-use development. The action does not commit the city to a specific design or financial arrangement; city options include selling the land or securing a long-term lease.

Enumclaw Town Plaza presentation by Ray Still on Scribd

THE BIGGER PICTURE

The city has long looked at all its downtown holdings and considered what could best serve the community. The land in question covers just over 10 acres, includes parcels on both sides of Railroad Avenue and stretches from Stevenson Avenue on the south to Washington Avenue on the north.

Included on the city-owned land are parking spaces for 400 vehicles, the building housing the Chamber of Commerce and Arts Alive!, Rotary Centennial Park, the Loggers Legacy Memorial, the public library and all the vacant land sitting directly north of the library, including the community garden.

The goals for the entire area, according to plans shared during the 2015 workshop, include a handful of key elements.

• to create a downtown “gathering space” with amenities attractive to both residents and tourists;

• to include a space for events ranging from a farmers market to street fairs, outdoor movies and concerts.

• to develop Railroad Street and Initial Avenue as a promenade with wide sidewalks and unique paving;

• to “fill the block” on Cole Street. It was noted the current situation, with a parking lot fronting Cole, creates a visual barrier, effectively putting an end to the shopping district.

Also mentioned is the importance of creating downtown housing as part of the mixed-use nature of the proposed development. People who live downtown support shops and restaurants.


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@courierherald.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.courierherald.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 500 words or less.

More in News

File photo
Non-profit sponsors study on how the pandemic impacted arts and culture in Puget Sound

The study helped identify challenges faced by residents and cultural organizations in Washington

File photo
WA lawmakers propose making companies responsible for recycling improvements

SB 5697 would compel industries to report data, invest in infrastructure, meet standards.

Image courtesy King County
Ballots mailed for upcoming special election | King County

Ballots must be postmarked by Feb. 8 or deposited into one of 74 ballot drop boxes by 8 p.m. sharp on Election Day.

Governor Jay Inslee. Sound Publishing file photo
Inslee: Officials’ lies about election results should be crime

Governor wants lawmakers to pass legislation making it a gross misdemeanor.

A graph showing the overall tax rate for residents within the Enumclaw School District between 2023 and 2026, if voters approve the replacement Educational Programs and Operations levy this February. Image courtesy Enumclaw School District
Remember to cast your vote on the Enumclaw School District levy measure

Ballots are being mailed out today, Jan. 19, and ballot drop boxes open tomorrow.

Rep. Drew Stokesbary and Rep. Eric Robertson. Contributed photos
Reps. Stokesbary, Robertson hosting District 31 virtual town hall

The event is Saturday, Jan. 22, starting at 10:30 a.m.

One of these eight designs could become Enumclaw's first municipal flag; the city council will discuss the designs, and possibly adopt one, during the Jan. 24 meeting.
Enumclaw officials narrow down community flag designs

The city council could adopt a municipal flag as soon as Jan. 24.

COVID case numbers in Enumclaw have been on the rise since Christmas week. Screenshot
Omicron continues to surge in Enumclaw

Data shows 15 percent of public COVID tests in December came back positive.

Most Read